Every Sunday, I have a routine. It's a simple routine that I have done for over 15 years and it has probably been one of the biggest factors in maximizing my productivity. The routine takes 15 mins to do and can change everything for you.
The first thing I do, is take 5 minutes to clear email out from the previous week. I go through and clear anything that has already been worked on or delegated. I keep a post it for notes and make any notes actions or items I need to do from clearing the email or anything that is left.
Next, I go through my calendar for the last two weeks and look at all my meetings. I do this to make sure there isn't any follow up or actions needed that I may have missed. I write anything down on the post it note.
Once I've done this, I take out a sheet of paper and open my calendar for the coming week. I create 5 columns across the sheet of paper (one for each day of the week). I then go by day and write down all of the things I have to do for that day and what time any meetings are. I write down everything I am going to do, even things like "working out" or "mediate for 10 mins." Literally, everything I will do for that day. I look at the post it note of items that I've jotted down that need action and I add them in to the days that make the most sense to action them. For example, if something is more urgent , then it goes to Monday or Tuesday, something less urgent, later in the week.
Once I am done, I have my week planned with all the action item I need to take each day. I then simply wake up each day and get to work. I then look at it at the end of each day and do any planning for tomorrow. If I finish everything for a particular day and have more time, I can work on anything for the next day and so on.
Taking just 15 minutes to do this plan each week has increased my productivity to levels I never thought possible and allows to get everything done across all my businesses in a normal work week. Try and see the difference it makes for you!
There are a lot of ways to analyze your business. Some are very complex and require a lot resources. Others are pieces of software you can input data into and get results. You can also hire firms to go in-depth to analyze every aspect of your business.
But, there is one older, tried and true, method you can use that will make a big difference every time.
That method is the SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. The threats are probably the easier part of the analysis to identify and the opportunities are the fun part where you get to brainstorm and think about about the future. Understanding the strengths and weaknesses are probably the most important part - and strengths can lead to opportunities and weaknesses can lead to threats.
Over the years, I have used SWOT to analyze every business I have been involved in and used the results to help plan and reach my success. During that time, I've developed a little spin on how to get the best strengths and weaknesses as I feel they are the most important part of the analysis.
You've probably heard me talk on the Misfit Entrepreneur about the DCP Formula which stands for Discipline, Consistency, and Persistence. Now, I think everyone would agree you need those to succeed. But, what do they really mean? Discipline is doing the things you know you need to do, even when you don't want to do them. Consistency is being disciplined each and every day. But, even if you are disciplined and consistent, you will still hit walls or major roadblocks. And if you are not willing to be persistent in overcoming them, then that is where you stay or plateau.
So, how does this translate to SWOT. Well to figure out your strengths and weaknesses, you use DCP across every area of the business. For example, look at operations and ask these questions. What does discipline for this area look like? One you have it defined, ask, are we disciplined? If you are disciplined, they you can more to consistency and ask are we consistent in this area? Based on your answers to those questions, you will know if that area needs more work or not and could be a strength or a weakness. But, what if you find your are disciplined and consistent in an area, but it doesn't seem to be performing as well as it should? That is where persistence comes in. Is there a major roadblock or wall that is in the way preventing this area from being better? If so, what is it? An opportunity may be to persistent through and finally do what is necessary to overcome it and level up.
You can look at every area of a business with DCP and use to help in the SWOT analysis. Using these two philosophies together creates a very powerful and easy way to analyze a business. Try it out on your business today!
This won't be a longer post, but definitely an important one to share.
I just finished another James Rollins Sigma Force book. I love Rollins. He blends science, history, facts all together to create amazing stories where over 90% of the things presented are true and the storyline is built around it. His books are basically Mission Impossible meets Indiana Jones. The Sigma Force series has 16 books and over the last year, I have been devouring them one by one, getting lost in them and going on one hell of a ride after another.
I have noticed that having this escape has really helped my productivity, introduced me to new concepts, and made me a better "thinker" as it has created more curiosity - especially when reading about of the things that are true, which Rollins puts at the end of each book. In fact, some of the things that already happening across AI, Biosciences, and other technologies are downright scary. Most people don't even know they exist. And it has help me as entrepreneur to see new opportunities I never thought existed.
If you don't have a place to "get lost" in from time to time, I'd suggest you look for one. You'll be amazed at how much it can do for your success. To escape and learn new things, new ways of thinking and new concepts expands the mind. It helps you to discover more and understand more about the world we live in.
If you want to succeed at higher levels, I'd suggest you "get lost!"
Recently, I have been reading books and writings about some of the biggest themes running through society, from studies on how to overcome to safe-spaces on college campuses and trigger warnings to the ways in which people have come to subconsciously and emotionally deal with things.
I have been doing this in order to better understand where society as a whole is and where it is going - and more importantly how to thrive as an entrepreneur now and in the future.
There is one thing that I see that stands out as I continue to study these different themes (some I agree with, some I don't, and some I think are downright ridiculous), is that one of the biggest solutions to many of the issues and problems we bring upon ourselves is to understand and to become anti-fragile. And make no mistake, many of the things that are happening in society are brought upon by ourselves, our sub-conscious, and not taking time to understand each other, but just reacting emotionally in the moment. It is not surprising as we have been conditioned to instantness and thus often react without thinking or even considering if we truly believe and understand the reaction we are having.
This causes us to create and manifest issues in our lives (whether they truly exist or not) that compound upon themselves and for many, serve paralyze us.
We as entrepreneurs must be careful not to fall prey to this pseudo reality. We should not shy away from challenge, conflict, stress and calculated risk, but embrace it. And this is where Anti-fragility comes in. Anti-fragile is, well, the opposite of fragile. But it may not be what you think. Fragile things when stressed or challenged break apart or are destroyed. Being Anti-fragile means that when stressed or challenge the object gets stronger and better. Going through the stress, challenges, conflict, navigating risk, etc. makes those that are Anti-fragile stronger, better and more able to adapt and succeed.
Many of the studies I have read, both social and scientific, have come to the conclusion that solution to many of the issues and challenges that manifest in people's lives is to embrace them and see them through - not run away from them or invent excuses not to deal with them. Now, this may seem like common sense, but it is not what is happening across the world. Why do we need a safe space on a college campus when the whole point of college is to have a place showcasing dramatically different views where students can listen, learn, and choose to make up their mind as to what they truly believe? Suppressing the ability to do this or outright banning it creates fragility, not Anti-fragility. And fragility is not going to help people succeed and reach their true potential in life.
As an entrepreneur, we must embrace every we can to make us more Anti-fragile, to become better, stronger, so that we can lead and do the good in the world we are meant to do. Everything and I mean everything in this world comes from entrepreneurship and I believe entrepreneurs are the answer to much of the world's problems. And Anti-fragility is a key to entrepreneur success.
It's the beginning of a New Year full of opportunity and possibility. What are you going to accomplish this year?
I'm sure you have a laundry list of things and hopefully, you are not like most people that give up on this list after a couple months because many of them have not been accomplished.
I've often said that we live in an "instant society" where we stop the microwave with 3 seconds left - we cannot even wait 3 seconds anymore! And that is the issue. We start the year with all this excitement and list of accomplishments we want to make happen, but because they don't happen right away, many of us just give up.
One of the things I coach people on and help them to understand is this simple mantra, "We overestimate what we can accomplish in a week and underestimate what we can accomplish in a year." You have to learn to play the long game if you want to succeed consistently over time. This does not mean that we have wins in the short term - sometimes big wins. But, more importantly, it is the smaller wins that add up to get to the larger goal over time. A year in today's age seems like an eternity, but it really isn't. It truly is amazing all that can be done in 365 days.
So, how do you make sure you don't get trapped by our "instant society?" Simple - you choose the long view and delay gratification sacrificing the instant impulses we have been conditioned to have. Today, you can choose the one big thing you will accomplish by the end of the year and then go to work on your little wins, week in and week out to get there, knowing you are going to do it in the course of a year. Ask, yourself, "What will I sacrifice in the short term to get a bigger benefit in the long term?" Answer that question for yourself and you will be on your way.
Remember, "We overestimate what we can accomplish in a week and underestimate what we accomplish in a year."
Here's to your long game success!
Life, in all aspects, is beautiful, amazing, wonderful, exciting, and full of everlasting change. It is also challenging, hard, prone to suffering, and comes with loss.
This past week, I lost my last surviving grandparent. She was a wonderful woman who lived a great life and passed away peacefully in her sleep at 93. As our family came together to grieve and celebrate her life, I started to think about the impact her loss has on our lives and how we cope and deal with it. Of course, as I thought more about this topic, my mind wandered toward the losses we face in business and entrepreneurship.
Coping and dealing with losing and loss is not something that there is a step by step handbook for. We learn how to deal with it in our own way through our experiences over time.
And when it comes to entrepreneurship, one of the best things we can do to help our success is to learn to how to thrive despite losing. In fact, as entrepreneurs, we tend to lose more than we win.
So, how to do you thrive through loss? Personally, I have found a few things over the years that really work for me.
First, is perspective. In order to deal with a loss, you must maintain perspective historically and in the moment. For example, for me this week, I was obviously saddened by my grandmother's death, but at the same time, I took solace in remembering her amazing life and knowing that she left us peacefully and did not suffer. And because I am a believer in Christ, I know that we are all just passing through this life to our real home. She is now home and it makes me smile. Keeping this perspective helped me and discussing it with family helped them as well. We all know death on this earth is a part of life, but we put it aside until we have to deal with it and perspective helps us in those moments.
Second, I do my best to separate emotion from logic. This doesn't mean I throw one or the other out - it just means I separate them and understand them and don't act impulsively in the moment. Emotions drive our actions in life and logic can help us make sure we are acting with the right emotions. For example, there were a number of circumstances due to Covid that made it hard on my grandmother in her final days and made it hard on her family - even keeping some members from being able to see her or severely restricting this ability. It sucked. It really did. And it made me angry in the way it was handled by the center in which was living. But, letting that anger control my actions and thus my life was not something I could do. I had to separate the emotion and ask logically if I should be letting the anger run me during this time. I chose not to let it impact me and got rid of it.
Lastly, find something positive to focus on. We become what we think about and if we focus on the negative, we will get negativity in our lives. During hard times or time of loss in life or business, we must find positive things to focus on. In my case, I was truly inspired and filled with happiness as I looked at all the family members that are in this world because of my grandmother. When you take into account that any one person's chances of being alive are 1 in 4 Trillion, to see all of these incredible people and all the grandchildren that are a result of one woman - it is truly breathtaking. Her legacy will live on for many generations.
Loss is a part of life and business. It is how we cope and deal with it that matters most. Think on this topic for yourself and ask how you can prepare yourself to deal and manage through loss in your life. It will help you tremendously.
2021 is under way and if you are like me, you have been strategizing on how to make it your best year yet, no matter what gets in your way. As I have been planning and starting the year acting on my plans, one thing that has become apparent is how important it is to be focused this year. And when I say focused, I mean making sure that I really understand and know the things that work and drive the results needed to meet my goals, and stay focused on them.
For that, I use the 80/20 Rule. The rule states that 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts or activities. And many times, it is more like the 90/10 or even 95/5 rule. But, that begs the question and the one you should be asking - "What are my 20% activities?"
The answer will give you the places you need to focus and double down on your efforts. So, as you get going into this year, take some very serious and focused time to really analyze the actions and activities you take in your life and determine which ones make the most difference and drive the most results in reaching your goals.
Then, put those into action, double down on them. Cut out the noise and shiny objects. Work at them, make them better, and don't stop. Many people think success is this flashy thing, but it's not. It's not Hollywood or what you see on TV. Success is really disciplined, consistent focused application of the 80/20 Rule. It's lather, rinse, repeat. In fact, sometimes, it can be downright boring - but who cares if you are reaching your goals and dreams that you aspire to. It doesn't matter if it looks good or flashy - it matters if you reach the goal or not.
Put the 80/20 Rule to work for you and go make it happen!
Each year, our Misfit Entrepreneur guests ends each episode by giving their Misfit 3, the 3 most important pieces of wisdom they want you to take and put into your life and your business.
An each year, at the end of the year, I go through and pick the 25 "best of the best" to share with you. My hope if that you can use this incredible wisdom and advice to help you get off to a great start in the New Year.
Here are the Misfit Entrepreneur Misfit 3 Top 25!
Each year brings tremendous opportunity. Unfortunately, most people miss out on a lot of the opportunity available to them.
This happens for a few reasons.
First, one of our biggest problems we have as a society is that we have been conditioned to be an "instant society" and expect everything immediately. I often say "we stop the microwave with 3 seconds left - we cannot even wait 3 seconds." This poses a problem when striving for success and for capitalizing on opportunities, because much of the time success is not an instant thing.
The most important thing I do from a mindset approach when planning for a new year is to understand and take to heart this simple wisdom, "We overestimate what we can accomplish in a week and underestimate what we can accomplish in a year." I am as guilty as anyone of getting wrapped up in the instantness of life and I have to diligently work to keep perspective and keep going, knowing that if I do, a year from now, I will look back and have accomplished many great things.
Second, I take time each year between Christmas and New Year's (usually a full day) to think hard on the successes and failures of the last year. I write down my big takeaways and how I can use what I learned to help me in the next year. I also take that time to review my principles and core values to make sure everything still aligns. I then review each of my businesses and pick the 2 most important things I want to accomplish in them for the year. My goal is to accomplish those early on in the year, then pick 2 more and go after those and so on. I have found that working on just 2 at a time helps me to reach success faster because I am focused.
Third, I take time to look at my personal and family life and do the same exercise looking at my mistakes/failures, principles/values, and deciding on the 2 most important things I want to focus on to start the year. If things are not aligned in your personal/family life, it makes it very hard to succeed in anything. I then share all of this with my wife and daughter, to get feedback and make sure we are on the same page together.
Once, I've done this, I then put it into a 1 page document that I can refer back to throughout the year. It is always amazing how at the end of the year when I refer back to it, how much I have been able to accomplish and what I've added as the year goes on.
Remember, "most overestimate what they can do in a week and underestimate what they can do in a year." Be the latter.
Here's to your success!
My wife has this canvas in her office that says, "Today is a good day...to have a good day."
I've never given too much thought about it, except that it was an inspirational phrase....until recently.
I happened to be helping her with some work in her office and re-read for the first time in a while. I began to think about it a little deep and found that I absolutely love it. I wish I had thought of the phrase!
Why? Because it is not just a motivational phrase but a reminder that we have a choice. Every day we have a choice when we get out of bed of what kind of day we are going to have. We get to choose how we will approach things. We get to choose our attitude. We get to choose everything and how we respond to what happens in our lives.
People forget that. Many people go about just letting "life happen to them" and then reacting to it. They don't seem to have control over anything and cede this personal power to whatever outside influences are acting on their life at the moment.
Don't let this happen to you. You choose. Don't let outside influences control you or your destiny.
The simplest place to start with your attitude. This is something you can choose. You can choose to have a good attitude, a positive, grateful one every day or a poor, negative one. And your attitude will manifest on the outside. It is truly a reflection of your inner game. So, if you choose to have a good attitude, it will manifest good things in your life. If you choose a poor attitude, it will do the opposite.
Remember, you get to wake up every day and say "Today is a good day...to have a good day." Now, go out and make it so!
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